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General Discussion Theres a Clannad of AIR-headed Kanon fodder being shot by the Little Busters After Tomoyo on a Planet-arian.

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  #1  
Old 2006-07-06, 21:55
DragonmasterX DragonmasterX is offline
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Default Is manga harder to read+translate than novels?

For this post, when I say novel, I either mean a normal novel or visual novel.
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I've always been under the mindset that manga are not worth buying because I could probably finish them real fast. Novels generally cost about the same money as manga, and it takes me way longer to finish them. With novels, I'm getting many more hours of enjoyment for my money! It's like more replay value in a game!

So because of that, I'm not really sure how difficult manga is to read. I imagine it's easier than novels, but are there are any linguistic aspects of manga that make them harder to read and/or translate than novels? Maybe a lot more weirdo onomatopoeias?
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Old 2006-07-06, 22:06
AstCd2 AstCd2 is offline
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Default Re: Is manga harder to read+translate than novels?

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Originally Posted by DragonmasterX
For this post, when I say novel, I either mean a normal novel or visual novel.
---
I've always been under the mindset that manga are not worth buying because I could probably finish them real fast. Novels generally cost about the same money as manga, and it takes me way longer to finish them. With novels, I'm getting many more hours of enjoyment for my money! It's like more replay value in a game!
You're assuming that the enjoyment you derive from reading a manga for an hour is the same as that from reading a novel for an hour - a proposition which is (to say the least) debatable.

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Originally Posted by DragonmasterX
So because of that, I'm not really sure how difficult manga is to read. I imagine it's easier than novels, but are there are any linguistic aspects of manga that make them harder to read and/or translate than novels?
Not really. Not only does manga usually contain simpler language and furigana (by virtue of a typically lower-aged target audience), but it also generally contains a lot less descriptive text.

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Originally Posted by DragonmasterX
Maybe a lot more weirdo onomatopoeias?
While there are a lot more sound effects, the visual cues provided in manga make them a lot easier to decipher than their novel equivalents.
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  #3  
Old 2006-07-06, 22:53
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Minoto Minoto is offline
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Default Re: Is manga harder to read+translate than novels?

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Originally Posted by AstCd2
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonmasterX
So because of that, I'm not really sure how difficult manga is to read. I imagine it's easier than novels, but are there are any linguistic aspects of manga that make them harder to read and/or translate than novels?
Not really. Not only does manga usually contain simpler language and furigana (by virtue of a typically lower-aged target audience), but it also generally contains a lot less descriptive text.
My experience is limited, but that's what I've seen too. Every so often, I try working my way through Air a few lines at a time, but so far it's been more of an exercise in dictionary use than an actual gaming experience. On the other hand, reading volume 1 of Mahoraba (a recent arrival, ordered after watching the anime) has been much easier, mainly because of the furigana. My working vocabulary may be pretty small at this point, but the number of words I actually know the kanji for is still smaller. So just having the furigana available helps greatly by reducing the number of times I have to put the manga down and pick up a character dictionary, and it's also helped me learn new kanji and compounds -- "ah, so 部屋 is the way to write へや in kanji..." and so on.

The visual element also makes it easier...reading a conventional novel, you only have the text, and whatever your imagination can make from your understanding of it. Visual novels add backgrounds, character images, and music, but all those really do is help add some sense of place and mood as you read a paragraph or more of text. In contrast, each frame or panel of a manga rarely contains more than a couple of (usually short) sentences.

Think of manga as illustrating the story at a higher framerate...if your reading comprehension is shaky, the increased amount of illustration will almost certainly help. Even if you read well, you may enjoy having the art along with the story. Either way, even if manga is simpler than a print or visual novel, and takes you less time to read, time spent on a novel or manga is not the only criterion by which to judge its entertainment value, as AstCd2 pointed out. I'm not giving up on harder works, because I know the time put into them will eventually pay off, but in the meantime, it's nice to be able to pick up something simpler and enjoy it immediately. That's enough reason for me, right there.
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Old 2006-07-06, 23:29
sjoben sjoben is offline
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I'd say most manga is a lot easier to read than novels. A big reason is of course that there is simply much less text to read, and there is often furigana to help. Another aspect that makes it easier is that in manga there is almost only dialogue, whereas a novel has long descriptive passages that often contain more unusual words not often found in simple dialogue.

However, something that might throw you off when reading manga is that the language is often made intentionally quirky, using strange dialects or 口癖 to give a character more character. This of course varies wildly with what genre of manga your reading, and is often found in visual novels as well.

I'd say visual novels are somewhere between a novel and manga in difficulty, though probably closer to a novel. The large amount of dialogue makes it easier to read, and the fact that the text pops up in small, digestible pieces makes it feel less daunting, at least it did to me in the beginning. Also, the voices, if there are any, help.

If your looking for something easy to read, yet still more text to crunch through than manga, I'd suggest taking a look at novel adaptations of manga. These often contain furigana for all but the most common kanji, and the language is aimed at a younger audience, making it more accessible. They have them in any manga store, just look for the books that aren't wrapped in plastic like the manga usually is.

In the end, if you want to really learn japanese I suggest reading all manner of different things, novels, manga, visual novels, magazines, newspapers, non-fiction etc, as they all have their own particular style of language.

EDIT: I just thought of another thing that can be hard to read in manga, those silly little handwritten bits. Not only are they hand-written, but also so tiny you almost can't see them. But if you don't normally read hand-written japanese they're propably a good exercise to try to decipher.
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  #5  
Old 2006-07-06, 23:45
Carl Carl is offline
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For some reason I found Hibiki no Mahou harder to read than the rest of Jun Maeda's works. Maybe the allure of furigana was too much and I wasn't spending the time on the kanji to decifer the actual meanings? Who knows...
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  #6  
Old 2006-07-07, 07:14
rodan
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I'd think that visual novels would be the hardest to translate.

For manga, you need a translator, typesetter, proofreader, and graphic designer.

For visual novels, you need all of the above, plus programmers. (In the future, possibly voice actors, but for now, dubbing costs vs interest is like a naked David vs Goliath)

For a novel, all you really need is a translator and proofreader.

Of course, in the fan communities, many times people take up more than one job.
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Old 2006-07-07, 08:33
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Haeleth Haeleth is offline
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Novels need typesetting too -- you can't just plug the text into Word or LaTeX and get decent results. They need design as well, if you want to translate the cover, frontispiece(s), and so forth. Popular Japanese novels tend to have things like illustrated chapter headings and so on, too.

I guess a more accurate way of putting it would be to say that the techical baseline for fan translations is lower for novels: people will be happier with a textfile translation of a novel than of manga or games. (Though plenty of people have got away with textfile translations of manga and games in the past, too...)

However, the volume and complexity of text is likely to be as big an issue, and that's where manga gets seriously easy and novels, both printed and visual, get seriously hard. :)
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Old 2006-07-08, 23:46
sfar sfar is offline
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Default Re: Is manga harder to read+translate than novels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minoto
My experience is limited, but that's what I've seen too. Every so often, I try working my way through Air a few lines at a time, but so far it's been more of an exercise in dictionary use than an actual gaming experience.
It sounds like you're in the same position as me - when you only know a few kanji, frequent dictionary lookups takes all the fun out of playing games. If so, then you should definitely take a look at AGTH (http://agthook.googlepages.com/).

This wonderfull little program sucks text out of a game and displays it in a seperate window. Set up you favorite kanji dictionary to automatically lookup whatever's in the clipboard, then just drag your mouse over the words you don't know.
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Old 2006-07-09, 15:25
DragonmasterX DragonmasterX is offline
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Default Re: Is manga harder to read+translate than novels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minoto
My experience is limited, but that's what I've seen too. Every so often, I try working my way through Air a few lines at a time, but so far it's been more of an exercise in dictionary use than an actual gaming experience.
I still prefer learning new vocabulary that way rather than the boring ol' textbook method.

I tend to make vocabulary lists for every game I play and try to memorize all the vocabulary on the list. When I see the same term in subsequent games and my immediate response is to think "OOH! I first learned that word from XXX-game in XXX-situation!" an incredible feeling of rapture consumes me.

For instance:
Quoted from Duel Savior Destiny, Chapter. 2, conversation in the library
・・・
一体何が、堅物潔癖だけど胸はそうは言ってないぞオラオラな委員長の逆鱗に触れたのだ!?

未亜「はぁ・・・」

べりオ「ここは神聖な学園の図書館なのですよ。そんなものがあるわけないでしょう!」

大河「べりオ委員長殿は王家という淀んだ血のなせる猟奇なる嗜好をよくわかっていないようだな」

べりオ「わかりません!わかりたくもありません!」

大河「ならば遠くにありて耳に聞け!そもそも王家というものは優れた血を後世に残さんがために世にも不埒な近親交配を繰り返してきた一族の末裔である・・・」

I recognized that grammatical pattern instantly, first learned from the Falena saying in Suikoden V:
大河の如き慈愛と、太陽の如き威光を、あまねく示さんがために

By the way, I've also been looking at JLPT1 grammar points and saw this んがために listed.
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